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EMBA visit São Paulo

Students consult with emerging market businesses in Brazil

This year's Executive MBA cohort visited Brazil for their emerging markets international field trip. 34 students flew to Sao Paulo in July for a consultancy project. 

Their task was to provide written consultancy reports for seven companies in Sao Paulo, focusing on issues associated with the operations of  small to medium enterprises (SME's)and multi-national companies (MNC's)  in the Brazilian market.

The students' first visit was the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange, BMF&BOVESPA, to observe and assess South America's fastest growing financial centre.

The following day they attended a seminar 'Doing Business in Brazil' which explored the political and economic changes facing businesses. Brazilian national culture, developments in technology, foreign investment and government were discussed at the seminar which was hosted by Business School Sao Paulo, Laureate International Universities.

The activities of the first two days prepared the students for their consultancy assignments by contextualising the companies they were working with. The students were divided between the seven companies involved and met with managers to investigate real-life issues in everyday practice.

They presented to the company boards at the end of their visit and produced a written report upon their return to the UK which was submitted to the board.

The trip was led by Dr Joanna Zaleska and Dr Lilian de Menezes of the Faculty of Management at Cass.

Dr Zaleska said, "Recently some Brazilian multinational enterprises have become prominent global players acquiring companies and assets in Europe and other continents, it is invaluable to visit such companies and observe convergence and divergence between Brazilian and Western management practices." 

EMBA student Winnie Armah commented, "The consultancy trip to Sao Paulo was not just an academic trip. Apart from applying our knowledge in a real life environment, it was an excellent opportunity to appreciate and imbibe the culture of a different country and to hone our interpersonal skills. It was work hard, play hard trip that really brought our cohort together. On the whole, we were all out of our comfort zones and that in itself was good learning."

Another student Richard Samuel added, "I experienced a real examination of my own cultural habits, my MBA learnings and the cohort camaraderie that had been built up over the year. The week was hard work and hugely enjoyable. And, just as importantly, we left town with a happy client."

This EMBA trip was Cass's first international trip to Brazil and Dr Zaleska and Dr Menezes would like to thank the companies involved:

  • Hirashima - small auditing company
  • DPME - public administration and healthcare
  • VIMAX - hair and beauty salons
  • Lotti and Araujo - small law firm
  • Sky Brasil - multinational media firm
  • Alcoa - multinational aluminium producer
  • Odebrecht - multinational engineering company

Dr Zaleska added, "We are grateful to Cass alumnus Vinicio A. da Fonseca who helped us arrange the consultancy project in Odebrecht, a Brazilian multinational company, and its small captive insurance company (OCS) that operates as a broker."

Please visit Richard Samuel's blog 'Cass reflections' for more details on this exciting trip.

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